Re: bad news
This topic greatly interests me, if only for the minutia involved here. I can certainly see why its something that went to the SCOTUS. Personally, I have yet to make up my mind one way or another about it at the moment.
Let me ask a question, the question I am rolling around in my head.
What is a CATV system, as it was defined in the cited ruling, back in 1976?
From the replies here, people are talking about single vs multiple antennas, or even cable companies modifying the commercials or other content.
But is that really what it was, originally? I am assuming (yeah, I know) that at the time, the cable companies were not changing the signal, or otherwise modifying the broadcast in any way. I am also going to assume that, originally, in 1976, the number of antennas in use wouldn't have materially changed the outcome of the case.
Assuming (again....) that the above is true, then we should look at the Aereo case in a different light.
Maybe the case had much less (if anything) to do about the fact there was a DVR or antenna for each person, and more to do with the simple act of a company making profit solely through facilitating the movement of another's copyrighted content where the end user already had been granted rights to receive/view/consume that content. (IANAL, that may not be the technically correct way to word it, but I think it conveys the idea well enough for a forum post).
Now, the weird part is by that definition, there would seem to be all sorts of other systems and technologies that do just that, every day, and in a fully legal manner.
So if the issue really is one of a company making profit solely through facilitating the movement of another's copyrighted VIDEO content where the end user already had been granted rights to receive/view/consume that content, then that would seem to be an odd statement in context to many other observable parts of our society.
Maybe Aereo's mistake was in trying to prove that their system is legal / and or exploits an acceptable loophole as opposed to challenging the original 1976 decision which really doesn't make a lot of logical sense in the context of our greater society and common practices of information transfer*.
*Under my wording above, I don't see how the original, 1976, CATV companies, or the Aereo of today would be significantly different than that of a trucking company, moving a case of pamphlets.
To be excruciatingly clear, while I understand this is how the law is written, I don't understand why these two things are different:
1. Let's say there is a supermarket, which is setting out boxes of pamphlets all over town for the free and indiscriminate use of the local populace (target market, so to speak) to educate themselves about the relative merits of Spinach vs Cabbage.
Now lets say that I, Joe Everyman, wants one of those pamphlets, and live in the area of the business and operations - the stated target market - of said supermarket.
I, Joe, do not feel like going to pick up the pamphlet myself, so instead I decide to call a local courier, and ask them to come up with a way to get that free pamphlet, and deliver it to me, while catering to my lazy tendencies. They offer to do it by me paying them to retrieve it, and receiving compensation for said action of only their time and expenses.
Thinking there might be more lazy people around me, that courier could call and/or market to all in my neighborhood (again, still in the stated target market of said supermarket) offering to deliver a pamphlet, in exchange for composition of solely their time and expenses.
Of course, at any time, if you, or any other individual do not feel quite so lazy, you are of course free to stop by any of the (many) points of pamphlet distribution and pick one up for yourself, free of any charges.
2. Let's say there is a broadcast station operator, putting their signal out for indiscriminate free reception of the local populace (the power of their transmitter / FCC license allocation area).
Now let's say that I, Joe Everyman, wants to receive that signal, and live in the intended local populace (transmitter power / FCC / etc).
I, Joe, do not feel like installing an antenna, or more likely my landlord will not allow me, or my wife will not tolerate it. So I decide to call my local low voltage contractor, and ask them to come up with a way for me to receive said signal while abiding to my other restrictions and or desires.
They get back to me and say they can make it happen by installing an antenna down the street, and putting a small cable in the ground for me satisfying my stated desires/needs, and in return only ask that I compensate them for their time and expense.
Thinking this is a good idea, they also offer to drop a cable by the other people on the street/block/city, again, restricting themselves to working within the intended local populace and only asking for compensation of their time and expense.
Of course, at any time, if you, or any other individual do not feel like working with this contractor, or do not have the same desires and/or needs, you are of course free to put up your own antenna and get a signal, free of any charges.